Blog written by Alice Kaimenyi
Celina Igoki is 63 years old and a member of Elshadai 2 Self Help Group. She is a widow and she takes care of her six grandchildren. She currently lives in Rwanderi, a small village in Maara District, Chogoria location, Kenya.
Celina faced many adversities during her younger years which made it impossible for her to continue with her education. Although she had big dreams that she wanted to fulfill, she ultimately had to drop out of class four. Celina was left with a small piece of land after her husband passed away, so she opted to become a small-scale banana farmer. Unfortunately, she was not successful in this business, as her monthly earnings from banana selling was only Kshs 2000 ($USD 20) per month. Often, after paying her bills, she was left with nothing in her pockets. She was unable to pay for her grandchildren’s school fees and she struggled to provide them with well-balanced meals on a daily basis. Celina desperately desired to provide her grandchildren with better housing, electricity and running water, but her financial hardship stood in the way.
In 2012, Celina became a member of Elshadai 2 and she engaged in table banking with the other group members. The little that she received during the table banking exercise provided her with hope that the best was yet to come. In October 2012, HopeCore funded her group with normal loans and she received Kshs 30,000 ($USD 300). After receiving this loan, she decided to leave banana farming and invested her money in dairy farming. Celina started selling milk to her community and the profit from her new business greatly improved her family’s livelihood. Her monthly income increased by 550%, from Kshs 2000 (USD $20) to Kshs 13,000 (USD $130).
With this substantial increase in her income, Celina was able to send her six grandchildren to school, buy them better clothing and provide them with three balanced meals per day. After saving her profit for three months, she re-invested in her banana farming business and she benefited greatly from diversifying her income. Her monthly income increased by 130%, from Kshs 13,000 (USD $130) to Kshs 30,000 (USD $300). With this tremendous increase in her monthly income, she decided to invest in her household. She built a permanent house out of stone and installed electricity and piped water for irrigation.
During the one-week business training that is hosted by HopeCore’s Micro-Enterprise Department, she gained valuable knowledge and skills, such as how to write a proper business plan and effective methods of record-keeping. She also received many health tips, including, proper family planning methods, the importance of good hygiene, malaria prevention, and how to prevent HIV/AIDs. With the health education that she received, she now treats her drinking water and her family sleeps under bed nets. Celina thanks HopeCore for believing in her and investing in her dream. Her loan repayment is 100%.